TFD adjusting to the new tower ladder truck - Titusville Herald: News

TFD adjusting to the new tower ladder truck

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Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 5:00 am

Ever since the vehicle joined the Titusville Fire Department’s fleet on Friday, Titusville firefighters have been working on getting used to their new ladder truck.

According to Titusville Fire Chief Joe Lamey, the department has taken the 1993 Simon-Duplex truck on drives through Titusville and up to Hydetown to help each firefighter adjust to the vehicle’s larger size. Lamey said that the truck’s rear-end swings much wider than the previous ladder truck, while its overhanging basket is a new factor for navigating the city’s streets.

The fire chief expects each member of the department to have driven the new ladder truck, which was donated by Lower Macungie Township, by the middle of this week. However, the work does not stop there, as the department will next work on pre-fire planning for the new vehicle.

In addition to its larger size compared to the department’s previous 1969 American LaFrance aerial ladder truck, the Simon-Duplex vehicle has many features that Lamey said will change how Titusville’s firefighters approach blazes. For example, the ladder on the new truck is able to turn 360 degrees independently, whereas the aerial truck’s ladder could only extend forward. The newer vehicle also features a basket at the end of its ladder, capable of holding up to 1,000 pounds at any angle or reach.

The department will need to factor in these details and more in its pre-fire planning, a process which Lamey said could take weeks. Planning will involve taking the truck to many of the major commercial buildings in town, such as Central Towers, and figuring out where is the best location to park the truck to fight any possible fires there, accounting for things such as power lines or other obstructors.

In addition, Lamey himself has been reading the many owner and service manuals that came with the vehicle. He noted that he has read at least some everyday, but has multiple binders and books to go through.

There are also some changes to the vehicle itself that Lamey is looking to have done. The truck still currently bears Lower Macungie’s name at various points on its body and ladder, while the fire chief would prefer to see the truck’s halogen lamps replaced with light-emitting diode bulbs, capable of brighter glows at less power and producing less heat.

The department does plan to keep Lower Macungie’s city seal on the ladder, however, with the words “Thank you” painted around it, a tribute to the township that donated the vehicle.

Despite all of this extra work, Lamey is glad to have the vehicle as part of the department’s fleet. In a demonstration on Monday, Lamey showed The Herald several of the truck’s features and allowed a staff writer to climb the ladder to the basket while it was elevated.

Utilizing jacks that extend from the side of the vehicle, the truck is able to take weight off of its frame while the tower ladder is deployed. Both the ladder and its twin master stream houses, which are affixed to the basket, can be adjusted and operated independently from the ground by firefighters.

As both a safety and convenience measure, the ladder has an air tank which pumps oxygen up to the ladder basket. Firefighters can affix their breathing masks to a nozzle in the basket, giving them hours of fresh air without needing a heavy air tank strapped to their backs.

While perhaps not the most obviously impressive part of the vehicle, one feature of the new ladder truck that has Lamey excited is the extra storage space it has.

“Oh, it’s a garage,” Lamey said, showing off the many compartments on both side of the truck.

This added space will enable the department to keep its fire engines lighter. Lamey said he plans to equip the engines with only the essential supplies, while letting the ladder truck hold any specialized tools for rarer situations. This will enable the engines to get to the scene of a fire and have its equipment deployed quicker, while the ladder truck can be called in for out-of-the-ordinary scenarios.


The tower ladder truck was donated by Lower Macungie, which is located in South-Eastern Pennsylvania near Allentown, following a vote by the township’s commissioners on Thursday.

Lower Macungie had previously been attempting to sell the vehicle after buying a new ladder truck, but was unable to find a buyer for their desired price-point.

Looking for other options of what to do with the vehicle, Lower Macungie Park Director Stanley Cupp came across previous articles from The Herald regarding a period of time when Titusville’s ladder truck was temporarily taken out of commission from September 2018 to March of this year. The township reached out to Lamey to set up the donation.

Ray can be reached, by email, at

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Jahoba posted at 7:26 am on Mon, Jun 3, 2019.

    Jahoba Posts: 240

    PGFD you are speculating incorrectly. I have not heard anyone in town complain about "wasting diesel fuel." Are you attempting to spread rumors in a passive aggresive manner?

    I applaud the TFD and very happy to see how seriously they take their profession. Maybe sometime soon Titusville can scrape together so money and have the "Lower Macungie" paint job taken off and replaced with "Titusville."

  • PGFDretired posted at 9:34 am on Sat, Jun 1, 2019.

    PGFDretired Posts: 8

    Well written article about the new Ladder Truck. The citizens of Titusville should thank Chief Lamey in his efforts to have all his FF’s knowledgeable with the operation of this specialized piece of apparatus. He will no doubt have people comment as why they are driving around town wasting diesel fuel, heard this many times from uninformed citizens. Pre-planning and training are key to successful firefighting operations, training that will pay off time and again when called upon during a real emergency. I hope the Mutual Aid Companies are afforded the opportunity to familiarize themselves with this piece as well. It is not uncommon for others to be called upon to retrieve a tool or appliance from another Departments apparatus on a call, especially during the times we operated with minimum manning. You want them to know in which compartment a tool is stored in and not have to search for it when seconds count. I look forward to more articles which show the Truck in operation.


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